MADM Symposium II

So, the final few weeks approach for our second year colleagues. As part of their assessment for Unit 2, they had to give an 8min presentation on their resolved work and the context which sits behind it. With 19 students due to graduate it was quite a full day of presentation, and with much to be learned for us first years who will be in this position in a year’s time.

Overall, I was impressed with some of the completed works which were being presented. To be honest though, I was very surprised by the number of gaps in people’s knowledge of their own projects and their intent so close to the end of the course.  A few too many unanswered why’s. Rather than reflect on the individual’s concerned, I want instead to look at the key questions which the tutors asked of everyone – particularly those which we really should be able to address by the time of the final show next July.

Learning points:


  • Why are you inspired by this particular craft culture / time period?
  • Ever process you use has its own cultural and historical significance, do you understand fully the significance of the processes you have chosen to use?

Mixing and matching processes brings with it a mix and match of influences and histories – I need to be aware of this and consciously manage the additional narratives they bring. Be careful also not to get too abstract, all work should be contextualised. I find it very easy to fall down theoretical rabbit holes, so need to watch out here!


  • How did you manage your design process? Why did you make X…why were you inspired by X…?
  • Does your design methodology match the order of the actual processes you have used to construct your pieces?
  • What is the value of the technique in your work?

Interesting debate – am I coming into my work from the angle of craft art or fine art – does it matter?


  • Why use this material and not another?
  • Where does each of the elements you are using come from, who made them?

I need to fully understand and be able to articulate why I use fabric and paper in my work. Why plant dyes also – and be careful of assumptions on shared understanding, particularly when using ill-defined works like “natural”. I should also look into the full associations between cloth and memory.


  • Who are your audience?
  • Have you considered whether your audience / viewer will understand what you are trying to get across with your work?

Be wary of making assumptions with the connections you make in your work, everything should be fully backed up by research, hypothesis or testing. Unless of course you want to make it “about you” but this may limit your work’s ability to engage with others.

Much still to learn, much still to do!


1 thought on “MADM Symposium II

  1. eileen

    This sounds like a very useful experience coming near to the end of your first year – showing how hard it can be to tighten/ sharpen a focus – if that doesn’t sound too much of a contradiction in terms to you!


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